Elaborate security arrangements made by the Election Commission to ensure that candidates with criminal antecedents did not have a free run in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections seemed to have paid off as only 100 such candidates have made it to the state assembly this time as against 206 in 2002.
The BJP-supported Apna Dal candidate Pawan Pandey, who is facing 63 criminal cases — the maximum number of charges among 882 candidates with criminal backgrounds, has lost.
However, known Mafiosi like Mukhtar Ansari and Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyaa, both independents, Amarmani Tripathi (Samajwadi Party leader who contested the polls from Dehradun Jail), D.P. Yadav (Rashtriya Parivartan Dal) and Dhananjay Singh (Janata Dal (U), have managed to win.
It was, however, not a cakewalk for these 100 candidates, as this time the message was “loud and clear from the electorate. They are unwilling to tolerate criminals in the State Assembly. The process has just begun,” remarked medical practitioner Dr. Brijesh Pandey. “In the past, these criminals not only won but also succeeded in ensuring victory of their henchmen in the election,” Pandey said.
So, how did they manage to win? It was still the fear factor, experts said. Since electronic voting machines can reveal the the voting pattern, the villages did not want to be targeted by the criminals post-elections.
Other mafiosi winners are: from BSP, Shahnawaz (Bijnaur); from SP, Radhey Shyam Jaiswal (Sitapur); from BJP, Harpal Singh (Gangeshwari); from Congress, Ajay Pratap Singh; and from RLD, Madan Bhaiyya.